Members of one of the largest congregations in the Presbyterian Church(USA) have voted to leave the denomination, despite facing an $8.89 million cost of leaving, the Charisma News website reports today (March 7, 2014).
Menlo Park Presbyterian is based in the San Francisco Bay area and led by well-known author and pastor John Ortberg. It is the ninth-largest PCUSA church, with about 4,000 members.
The motion to leave the PCUSA was approved by 93 percent of the church's members who voted, with 2024 ballots in favor of the motion and 158 ballots opposed, according to a letter posted by Ortberg.
The church voted to join a newer denomination called ECO, a Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, which has attracted 115 other Presbyterian churches since it started in 2012. In its rationale for leaving, Menlo Park cited differences in identity, mission, governance, and owning its property.